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Meet Pluto


Pluto's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient

Pluto (he/him) is a 61-year-old legally blind trans and intersex person. Pluto is of Jewish and Native Arctic descent.

Pluto suffers the loss of vision and hearing from Retinitis Pigmentosa. He grew up at a time when being trans was not just deeply stigmatized, but illegal. Accessing care was difficult due to a lack of resources and transportation. Despite these obstacles, Pluto is listed on Wikipedia as the first known transgender/intersex person elected to political office in Indiana. Today, Pluto lives below the poverty line on disability, and is also the primary caregiver to a parent with dementia.

He is the Indiana state chair of a political party and an activist with United Activists of Ft Wayne, IN. He has shared the stage as a speaker with well-known activists, and proudly volunteered with the Red Cross, responding to local and national disasters including Hurricane Katrina. He was an activist during the AIDS crisis, helping support early victims. His photos of protests and activism in the Midwest are historical documents of the local movements.

Receiving gender-affirming healthcare will directly impact Pluto's life in many ways. He shares, "I have spent my entire life hiding my body, using my weight and clothing as a way to conceal the features that did not align with who I truly am." With this surgery, he will finally be able to fully embrace himself and live authentically. Surgery will have a positive impact on his mental health as well. Pluto has waited his entire life for this freedom, he is so grateful to those who have made it a reality. 

Pluto's timeline

  • Award Granted

    March 30, 2023

    Pluto was granted a Surgery Fund Award!

Grant details

$12,000 towards gender-affirming care.

TikTok-a-Thon grantee

About FTM Top Surgery

On average, it costs $12,000+ for Pluto's care.

What is it?

FTM/N top surgery is a surgical procedure that removes breast tissue and reshapes the chest contour to create a more traditionally masculine or gender-neutral appearance.

What is life like for a person who needs this care?

Prior to care, many trans masc people experience dysphoria that impacts their daily life. One of the most common and heartbreaking experiences we hear from applicants is that they cannot give hugs to their loved ones without feeling intense distress with their chest. In addition, reliance on chest binding can cause strain over long periods of time.

How accessible is it for trans folks to receive this care?

While top surgery is often categorized as a covered benefit in many insurance plans, the reality is that it's frequently denied coverage. Many people report unsuccessful attempts to appeal for coverage. In addition, finding skilled surgeons experienced in performing top surgery can be extremely challenging, particularly in states and regions most affected by anti-trans healthcare legislation.

What is the impact of this care on the recipient’s life?

Many trans folks who undergo top surgery report massive improvements to their overall well-being and mental health, leading to increased confidence and more comfort in relationships, navigating public spaces, and more.